Am I Next? Catholic Health hiring freeze may precede layoffs if losses continue.

The handwriting is clearly on the wall for the employees of Buffalo-based Catholic Health whose mid-year operating deficit is now approaching $16 million dollars in a difficult health care environment. The company has implemented a hiring freeze on all positions with the exception of pre-approved clinical staffing. CEO Mark Sullivan noted that the hiring freeze is one facet of the company’s cost reduction initiatives and describes it as a “course correction.” Further adding, “Besides reductions in the way we are compensated for the care we provide, these losses are further compounded by the fact that annual reimbursement increases we receive from insurers fall significantly below typical healthcare inflation.”

Like most health care providers, Catholic Health, with five hospital campuses, a long-term care site, a home care division and outpatient sites, is experiencing a declining patient census and the ramifications of significantly reduced insurance reimbursements, especially those associated with Medicare and Medicaid.

According to a media spokesperson, "While we continue to see market share growth in various areas, with more patients coming to Catholic Health because of our high quality, we are continually assessing the needs of our organization and our workforce as healthcare continues to evolve."

According to the industry lobbying group American Hospital Association, “Medicare and Medicaid accounted for more than 60 percent of all care provided by hospitals. And, “payments from the two government programs were $76.8 billion less than the cost of care in 2017” while “Hospitals provided another $38.4 billion in uncompensated care in 2017 for the uninsured or patients who didn't pay their portion of a bill.”

One can only imagine the effects of the single-payer system now being labeled by 2020 presidential candidates, falsely, as “Medicare for All.” Each of the proposals, while somewhat different, would eliminate private insurers and allow the government to dictate everything from care levels to staffing.

Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?


Am I Next? SunPower layoffs. 

Solar power system designer and manufacturer SunPower has announced that they will be laying off up to 250 employees, reportedly well-paying research and development and marketing positions to compensate for increased costs related to President Trump’s new 30% tariff on imported solar panels and components. This is before President Trump announced the imposition of new tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%). 

According to SunPower CEO Tom Werner, “with the new tariffs, SunPower will lose $50 million this year, about one-sixth of the company's overall operating costs.” According to Werner, the company fears that next year's losses will be even more staggering, predicting the firm could lose closer to $100 million.” 

"We'll have to cut costs, even more, we just don’t have the money. A cursory review of our balance sheet would see there is not sufficient money which would mean decreased American investment — we’d focus on foreign markets where we don’t have to pay a tariff.” “Werner said the shift to overseas would take jobs with it.”

If SunPower’s request for a tariff waiver is not granted, the result “will likely result in more job cuts and a shift toward more investment in foreign markets.” SunPower is mostly owned by France’s Total, one of the seven ‘super-major,” and the fourth publicly-listed energy company in the world. Total is also dealing with a prolonged downturn in the oil and gas industry.  

Are you asking yourself, Am I Next?